Alternatives to Childhood Misadventures
I grew up in a big city and while I was lucky enough to have parents who insisted on taking me out of the city as often as possible, I spent many a weekend and summer vacations loitering with my friends in a nearby office parking lot as we tried to entertain ourselves. Looking back on some of the genius ideas we had, I am only left wondering a) where were our parents; b) was I completely devoid of common sense until the age of 25; and c) how am I still alive?
There’s an infamous Southern joke that asks, “What are a redneck’s last words?” The punchline? “Hey y’all, watch this!” I don’t know about last words, but in my experience and childhood social circle, that phrase usually preceded a trip to the emergency room or, worse, being grounded. I wish I could go back in time, right before I was about to try and climb a six-foot cement wall while wearing roller blades and slap myself upside the head, but since I can’t, I’m going to write a list of alternative activities to spare any other kindred thrill-seekers the pain of that inevitable crash landing.
Bad Idea: Parachuting off the shed with a pillowcase.
Why can’t you just play video games or sit in your room reading? Honestly. But ok, if you must try this, wear as much protective gear as possible. Just kidding. Don’t do this. You’re going to break your ankle. I’m serious.
Better Idea: Find a community pool with a diving board
Try the YMCA. They have a pool, with a diving board. Sometimes even a few diving boards. There you can jump off of things to your heart’s content and spare yourself–or at least lessen the risk of– a broken ankle.
Bad Idea: Riding your bike down the front porch stairs.
See, this seems like it’s going to be a good idea, but–let me tell you–it does not end well. The first time you try it, your Dad is going to catch you and yell at you for being reckless (you weren’t wearing a helmet) and for ruining the paint job on the stairs (he just repainted them last week). The second time you do it, you’re going to crash down the stairs, slam straight into the picket fence and scrape up your elbows and then get grounded for disobeying your dad.
Better Idea: Start Mountain Biking
This can be tricky if you don’t have access to a car or someone willing to drive you, but there are clubs and options if you’re really committed to getting started. Otherwise do a quick Google search to see if your city has a BMX park (mine does and it’s accessible by bus or, if you don’t live that far away, just ride your bike).
Bad Idea: Tying your dog’s leash around your waist while wearing roller blades
This actually works pretty well. Until dog sees a squirrel, chases squirrel, and then abruptly stops right in front of a tree. That part doesn’t go as planned. Adding insult to injury, your dad has to stop mowing the lawn because he’s laughing so hard.
Better Idea: Skate Park
Whether you’re more into rollerblading or skateboarding, a skate park is a much better place to get some speed and air. Though, if you’re anything like me, I recommend wrist guards and a helmet. And maybe a protective bubble.